Cincinnati Bengals rookie running back Giovani Bernard is listed questionable on the injury report with a rib injury he suffered during last week’s monster Thursday night performance in a loss to the Miami Dolphins. Bernard was always expected to play, but that expectation wasn’t overly strong. This morning’s report from the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is great confirmation for Bengals fans and fantasy owners alike, as Rapoport reports that Giovani Bernard plans on playing today against the rival Baltimore Ravens.
The Bengals will definitely need him, because his agility, explosiveness, and pass-catching ability make him a dangerous weapon. I could see him having a monster game as a receiver against the Ravens, because Bernard had 104 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns against the Dolphins. If the Bengals are able to jump out to an early lead against the rival Ravens, then Bernard could get some nice garbage time. The Bengals are projected to win and most rivalry games are close, so logic states that Bernard should get some carries in the fourth, though most of those “waste clock” touches would go to BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
Bernard has 30 receptions for 267 yards and two touchdowns, as well as four rushing touchdowns and an average of 4.5 yards per carry this season. His all-purpose ability makes him a very valuable fantasy commodity, and I would definitely feel safe starting him this week (unless if you are very stacked at running back). Even though he was limited, Bernard was able to practice all week and his status was never truly in doubt.